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Re: DFSG violations: non-free but no contrib

On Tue, Nov 04 2008, Loïc Minier wrote:

>  Because I can consider the wifi firmware a subsystem which doesn't
>  contaminate my main OS; there's a clear interface between the two
>  systems -- it's like talking to another computer, talking to your
>  hard disk, talking to your keyboard: something proprietary or free
>  might well be inside, I don't care as long as I can run a free OS on
>  the main CPU.  I'd *prefer* if it was free, but I can start another
>  project to fulfill this goal.  I don't want the freedom requirements
>  for the main OS to require using free hardware, just like I want the
>  freedom requirements to require talking to computers running free
>  software.

        So you only care for one of the two freedoms. Which is
 fair. Some of our users care about fewer freedoms -- they would be
 happy if we distributed nvidia binary drivers in main. None of this,
 however, is relevant to the central issue.

>  Now if Debian can distribute a blob which allows my hardware to run as
>  indicated by a clear interface with my free OS, that's good enough for
>  me.  If something breaks, I can look at the interface and fix the OS or
>  blame the hardware (+ firmware).  I don't personally feel like I need
>  the freedom to fix the firmware more than the hardware.
>    (However, I acknowledge that we must make it clear that particular
>  files are only distributed as enablement tools, and don't come with
>  ultimate source, tools, and doc.)

        As I said, this is expressing your personal preference for the
 kinds of freedom you care about.

>  And if we don't require the hardware to be freely modifiable, why
>  require the firmware to be so?

        The issue is not really about whether the user can achieve
 perfect freedom -- we do not restrict user actions. They may dual boot
 Vista if they wish.

         The issue is whether Debian distributes things that restrict
 user freedoms.  Last I looked, we did not distribute the hardware.

>> And if the answer reduces down to 'firmware is made by proprietary
>> vendors and does something many people need and we don't have a
>> replacement yet' - well thats fine, but at various points we didn't have
>> a free kernel, or a free libc, or a free graphic desktop environment.

>  Google.com is run with software I don't have access to, but I use it
>  daily, as well as my microwave, or my wifi card.

        Sure. but Debian does not distribute them.

Is knowledge knowable?  If not, how do we know that?
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>  
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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